Oil painting “Under the sea coral reef” series

Initial thought

The coral reef comes across my mind when I am watching some documentary films about ocean ecosystem. I have always felt that ocean is part of me since I grew up at a coastal city. One of my uncles who is in his 60s still dives down into the sea every single day despite summer or winter, rain or shine. So why not paint something from the sea? Coral reef would be a good option because the variety of its color.

However, I decide not to paint it into photorealism or any realism style early on. The world under the sea can be different between what you see on the screen or picture and what you see personally deep down in the darkness. Therefore I want to simplify the general shapes of coral reefs and assign them the bright vivid color that people believe.

Then I start sketching.

Digital sketch

Time lapse videos of digital sketch of Coral reef oil paintings are here.

Coral reef blue is the first one in this series. As you can see in the video, I was trying to figure out the layout and color combination along the way. That’s one benefit of drawing it on software before putting actual paint on canvas. Once I am satisfied with the first one, the second one would be more straightforward.


These two paintings are 24″ by 36″, the largest canvas size I can manage in my limited space so far. But it does look good when they put together. Under different lighting angle you will see the shimmering gold lines and dots.

I consider these two paintings represent my abstract style along with “Playgrounds”, “Backyard birds”, “Freshwater fishes”, “Sushi dreams” and “Gingerbread couple”. Soon my new painting series “Ramen noodles” and “Lion dance” will join them.

My drying corner for upcoming paintings

I hope you enjoy these abstract paintings. ❤

Thank you.

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My paintings are an outlet to express the imagination I have inside my head that I can not put into words. After trying many mediums, I always find myself coming back to paint and brushes. In my current artistic practice, I use oil paint and mainly create portraits of mythical creatures and animals transfixed in the shifting colours of seascapes and landscapes. There is a natural spirit and magic to these creatures and their energy draws me in. Choosing to paint these creatures as real living wildlife rather than abstractions, I use bold and vivid colours to express the imaginary intertwined with reality, finding magic between the seams. Using a saturated colour palette, I create bold and striking imagery, contrasted between foreground and background, subject and landscape, and light and darkness. Weaving their bodies and the surface of the landscape into each other through organic forms and flowing brush strokes, I find beauty, strength and innocence in these creatures that reflect my inner world.